A blueberry mood

It is my first bake in the UK. Ever since I moved to Leicester which was in July this year. And it is a blueberry tart that smells luscious even in the preparatory stage. So while I type away here, the crust is chilling in the refrigerator and the filling of blueberries, orange zest, nutmeg and maple syrup is sitting for the flavours to blend well together. The bluish-grey filling speckled with bits of orange smells very Christmassy, I think, because of the pinch of nutmeg that went into it. But what joy it brings.

My love affair with baking started in Delhi when I played around with recipes of cupcakes, savoury cupcakes, cheesecakes, pies and cakes. But my favourite discovery has been this that salty icing tastes much better when swirled on cupcakes, than a horribly sugary concoction that promises to numb my senses (don't know about you!) with a saccharine sweet high. Also, another favourite of mine is a dark chocolate icing that I whip up for cakes with fresh cream. It is smooth, dark and delectable.

Soon I shall be pouring the filling after cooking it simultaneously while the crust bakes to an alluring golden hue. And my fingers smell of the fresh and citrusy aromas of the orange that I just zested into the bowl of filling.

A bit of trivia I loved reading about why blueberries have always been such a favourite. If a Roman physician called Dioscorides prescribed blueberries as the perfect cure for dysentery, rich Roman matrons bathed in tea made from blueberry leaves to intensify their tan. And while the Celtics and Galli ate blueberries and at the same time used their juice as a fabric dye, during World War II, as a war tactic to intimidate the Germans, the British military spread the rumour that British pilots were able to see enemy plans even when flying in the dark due to a diet rich in blueberries -- apparently it helped improve night vision!

Meanwhile, have a lovely Sunday and here's to my bit of indulgence for the weekend.


A Porn Star Martini for you, dear November

I had it two ways. The Porn Star Martini.

But before I launch into a diatribe on it, know this that it is a glamorous cocktail of sorts and it is all about the passion fruit. Though along with passion fruit liqueur and passion fruit puree you should expect vanilla vodka, vanilla sugar and half of a passion fruit too. And a champagne chaser.

The first time I tried it, I bit into the luscious passion fruit (never mind the seeds), took a sip from my martini glass and subsequently downed the shot glass of bubbly. Oh it was such a beatific feeling, I promise. It even brought the most beatific grin to my face. It was my cousin brother's 38th birthday at the Hoxton Hotel in London and a few ros├ęs down, it was time for the martini.

The second time, it was bought by this drunk stranger, but boy was she fun and vivacious. She made me empty the shot glass into the martini glass and down it all in one go. The buzz was passion fruity and I could feel happiness bubbling all the way to my brain cells.

November, this year, has started on an exciting note. The very first day of the month, I did the quintessential girly thing to do. Shopped. For a few wardrobe essentials such as a black Paddington Coat, a black trench coat with military -style epaulettes with vintage gold buttons, a Christmas-sy red woollen skirt with little reindeer in white prancing around on it. There were more of course, but these were the highlights of my time out.

The weekend meanwhile was spent trolloping around London. And boy, was it cold and so windy that I could feel numbness and needles strike at the same time. But husband A spent time at his two favourite places -- Chipotle and Abercrombie & Fitch -- and declared that he wanted to return to London. Imagine my relief.

London is one of my favourite cities. There is colour, people, coffee shops and bars -- a medley of which set my senses running amok with happiness. What charms me more than anything is that you can walk almost anywhere and then there is the tube which makes life so easy. I am not really much for driving. So I give kudos to a city that encourages walking and using public conveyance as much as London does. Plus as the lights start shining from the nooks and corners of ancient white buildings of the city, nothing compares to it.

To return to my rambling, I have already got my first two gifts for my 32nd birthday. A vermillion red dress coat from Mango on Regent Street that screams chic. And a small jewellery box in wood with an enamelled top along with a beautiful raspberry-flavoured cupcake bath bomb.

November, you are happiness. Salud.